This morning, I am drawn,

My boots wet with due,

To a familiar haunt.

At the foot of the field

The arching limb of a guardian oak

Beckons me to the brook’s meander.

I stand upon a tiny beach of mud.

Notice the story told in the imprint of a deer’s hoof

Three days old.

The water’s endless chatter as it moves over a mess of rocks

Punctuates the quiet of the hour.

Busy insects skitter in the strengthening sun

Gathering and gathering.

Across the far bank a ranked army of tall nettles glare confidently

Daring me to cross.

At bottom of the brook’s clear water

Lie black magnetic stones.

They pull me to pick them from their place

Feel their cold smoothness in the warmth of my palm.

I choose one, lift it to my face, to examine.

On its underside, a small white invertebrate moves towards my fingers.

It pulsates an alien dance.

Unnerving in its otherness. Nothing about it is familiar.

It travels by alternating between thin and broad, long and short.

Three white clouds move within its body’s length

The distance between them expanding and contracting

An embodied square dance.

So, it squirms its way closer to my flesh

Which seems lumpen and inert compared to the fluidity of this thing.

I can make out no eyes, no mouth, no head

It is little more than a lump of snot.

Yet it seems to have direction,

Some sense of purpose.

Is this how the Gods see us?

Blind, senseless and lost

Moving relentlessly towards them

Not knowing what we want from our destination

Only, that we want

That we are driven by wants

That we are unable to articulate to the Gods or to ourselves.

Poor, mouthless creatures with purpose unspoken.

I put the stone back carefully from where it came

Feeling guilty as a God who has taken a creature from its home,

Given it a glimpse of Heaven,

Pretended that it had a reason for doing so,

Some Divine Plan.

Entranced the creature with notions of Purpose,

Chained it to Destiny.

Told it the old lie of Meaning.

When the truth is, I just picked up a stone.

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